911 Porsche World
BODY & IDENTITY
As ever, let's address the basics first. The 991 you’re looking at should display a matching Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on its V5 registration document and on the identification stamps located on the inside edge of the bonnet and on the engine cover, as well as on the body shell, next to the offside sill beside the driver's seat (right-hand drive cars). Take a look and you'll see a carpeted flap which you can flip open to reveal the VIN.
Elsewhere on the V5, you’ll see the engine number. We'll admit, with the 911's powerplant placement and underbody cladding taken into consideration, it can be difficult to check the number stamped into the block when scrambling around on the floor, but a dealer should be happy to get the car up on a ramp and put your mind at ease if you suspect a replacement engine has been fitted. There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this (mechanical failure and replacement under warranty), but make sure it ties in with what the supporting paperwork suggests. Receipts from Official Porsche Centres or recognised independent specialists should fill you with confidence and, in our experience, it's more than likely the garage responsible for carrying out the work will be happy to chat to you about the fault and, importantly, the fix.
Spend a couple of quid at mycarcheck.com, where you can download a history report outlining any insurance claims, change of registration number, recorded mileage and whether there’s any outstanding finance on the car.
You should also enter the vehicle’s details into the DVLA’S free-to-use MOT history database, which can be found at bit.ly/dvlamot. The service will return all test passes, failures and advisories registered as far back as electronic records are stored (which is helpful in identifying any ongoing mechanical or safety issues) and, if you have the V5 document number at your disposal, you can even see which test centre carried out the inspection.
Damage may have been inflicted upon 991s driven in anger, so check panel gaps to make sure they’re straight. Look for signs of mismatched colour and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You might be eyeballing a Porsche which has simply been tapped with a trolley in a car park, but then again, the car might have been stacked into a tyre wall at a race circuit. Either way, Porsche body repairs shouldn’t be done on the cheap, so ask to see receipts relating to the work, if applicable. A paint thickness gauge will help you to determine if you’re looking at quarters full of filler.
The 991 was celebrated for its superior build quality and came in a mind-boggling number of model variations and trim packages, with a huge list of cost options for original buyers to take advantage of. With this in mind, think carefully about the 911 you want to be in charge of. If a GT3 is too aggressive, but a Carrera too tame, then consider a GTS, which sits comfortably between the two.
Perhaps you'd like a 991 drop-top? If so, it's worth noting the 991 saw the return of the classic brushed aluminium Targa hoop, which was discontinued with the arrival of the 993 Targa for the 1996 model year. For the 991, a new electronically operated soft top and classic glass 'dome' paid tribute to fifty years of Targa in sensational fashion.